UN and EU: Partners in Security Governance?

Publication Date: 
04 May 2016
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
Publication Place: 
Publication Language: 
Appearing in: 
RSIS Commentary

As new global threats emerge triggering renewed interest in regional organisations, the EU can play the role of a partner of the UN in global security governance.

Since its establishment, the European Union has contributed significantly to peace and stability in Europe and beyond. The organisation fervently aspires to contribute to effective multilateralism by supporting the United Nations in addressing global challenges. It has, directly or indirectly, supported the mission and goals of the UN in several ways and flagged its aspiration to be a “global actor” on many occasions.

The EU and UN formalised their relationship in 1974, as the then European Community obtained the status of observer at the UN General Assembly. Over the years, the two institutions have developed strong ties and have cooperated in various domains, including development aid, humanitarian assistance, electoral support, fight against corruption and health issues. The EU is also an important financial contributor to the UN missions and operations. The UN General Assembly granted in 2011 the status of enhanced observer to the Union, thereby strengthening its position and leverage in the UNGA debates. This sets a precedent as the EU is the first – and only to date – regional organisation to obtain this status.

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